Just as Christie’s has been predicting—one might even say, hyping—81-year-old British artist David Hockney became the most expensive living painter tonight when Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972) sold for $90.3 million at the postwar and contemporary art auction in Rockefeller Center. All told, the sale realized a total of $357.6 million, compared with a revised pre-sale estimate of $323 million to $421.5 million.
The record-making Hockney’s unpublished pre-sale estimate had been $70 million to $100 million, though much of the pre-sale chatter guessed $80 million as the likely level.
Generating almost as much buzz as the sky-high asking price was the fact that the Hockney painting went to the block without any type of guarantee—almost unheard of in this day and age, when consignors know how to play the big auction houses off against one another.
David Hockney, Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) (1972). Courtesy of Christie’s Ltd.
Painting by Bacon will lead the highest valued auction of Contemporary art ever staged in London
LONDON.- On July 1 Sotheby’s in London will offer Francis Bacon’s famed painting, Study for a Pope I, 1961, estimated £25,000,000-35,000,000. Consumed by an obsession with Diego Velázquez’s Portrait of Innocent X, the Irish-born artist created this monumental work specifically for his breakthrough retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1962. For 40 years the painting remained in the collection of the celebrated art collector (and infamous playboy) Gunter Sachs, before being sold at auction in 2005 for $10m (£5.8m), a record price for any work by Bacon at that time. The subsequent ten years have seen a meteoric rise in the value of paintings by the artist. Today, the record for a Bacon stands at $142m (£89.3 million), the highest price for any work of contemporary art at auction. With the artist’s critical and commercial standing at new heights, Study for a Pope I, will lead the highest estimated sale of contemporary art ever staged in London, estimated £143.2m-204.6m.